A disabled 95-year-old woman fell and fractured both of her hips while under the care of a nursing home. Her guardian has filed a lawsuit against the facility.
When she was admitted to the nursing home, employees were aware she
suffered from Alzheimer's and dementia and was usually disoriented and
confused, according to the lawsuit.
allowed the resident to wander unattended in the hallway during the middle of
the night, the complaint says. During her walk, Reed
fell and fractured her left hip, according to court records.
again, a few days later, the resident was left unattended in a wheelchair and without
a personal alarm. And, again, she injured herself when she fell, the
A third time when she fell she fractured her right hip. She had been left unattended in her wheelchair with her tab alarm in the off
position. During this incident, she attempted to walk
unassisted when she was known to be non-weight bearing and at high risk
for falling, according to the complaint. For more, read the story.
In order to prevent falls and other accidents, the nursing home or
assisted living facility must identify environmental hazards and assess
the patient’s risks, implement a care plan that includes adequate
supervision and other measures based on the patient’s needs, monitor
the effectiveness of the care plan, and, if the plan is not working,
change the plan. In order to enhance supervision, a nursing home or
assisted living facility may need to provide safe supervised areas for
unrestricted movement, eliminate or reduce boredom, monitor
environmental factors such as temperature, lighting, and noise levels,
evaluate staff assignments to ensure qualified staff is provided to
each patient, and evaluate staffing levels to ensure adequate
supervision that meets a patient’s needs. Finally, it bears noting that
verbal consent or signed consent forms do not eliminate the
responsibility of a nursing home or assisted living facility to protect
a patient from avoidable falls and other accidents.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is
dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing
home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke,
Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Fri, June 5, 2009
by Robert Carter